Graham Details Diesel Spill Efforts To Christian Fiscal Court

Photo Provided by The National Pipeline Mapping System

On February 16, officials at the local, regional, state and national level began coordinating response to a north Christian County farm, as a fuel pipeline owned by BP was damaged by a third-party digging contractor.

By that weekend, a large-scale cleanup was well underway near Greenville Road.

During Tuesday morning’s Christian County Fiscal Court meeting, Christian County Emergency Management Director Randy Graham gave a compelling account of that weekend — and the measures that have followed in the last two weeks and beyond.

Graham said the initial damage to the pipeline didn’t create an immediate release of petroleum, which he confirmed was mostly diesel.

Preliminary investigations narrowed down the leak to Christian and Muhlenberg counties, before the culprit was fully determined. Graham noted initial estimates included “very large quantities” in a worst-case scenario — and that included contaminated soil that could safely be transported to Hopkins County for disposal.

Graham said his office and other surrounding officials remained in an “emergency operations” phase until March 2. BP was able to open temporarily soon after, and since then Graham added the oil company has been able to do a full repair on the pipeline.

Remediation has already begun, and could take more than a month to complete.

A creek lies within 200 yards of this pipeline, and Graham said incredible efforts have already transpired to make sure it’s not contaminated — having already built five containment dams to protect the source.

Immediate response came from Kentucky Environmental and US EPA.

From a cost perspective of this operation, Graham noted it won’t come from county or emergency management coffers. The federal law, he said, is to “call before you dig” in order to have it marked, and that wasn’t done here, and as such, the cost has yet to be determined.

Judge-Executive Jerry Gilliam said BP had to “construct a road” in order to bring in equipment necessary for soil excavation, across this cattle farm. Graham said it took “tremendous effort” just to gain access to the pipeline in order to mitigate the damages.

BP’s environmental team, Graham reported, will be in Christian County testing soil and other resources “3-to-6 months.” Meanwhile, Graham closed by saying multiple drones owned by local, regional, state and federal officials have been flown during and after the incident, in order to properly assess damage caused by the spill, and by the response process.

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